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The Digital Collection of Historical AMA Documents

Conditions of use

Access and use of the digital collection database is conditioned on compliance with the following terms and conditions.

  1. The content included in these digital collections is copyrighted by the AMA and is for user's personal use only.
  2. No part of these digital collections can be distributed to others, posted on any web site, or used on a public computer based information system including any electronic bulletin boards.
  3. No part of the content included in the digital collections may be commercialized or sold.
  4. Individuals using these digital collections may reproduce or store copies of content for their personal, noncommercial use. Uses beyond those allowed by the "Fair Use" limitations (sections 107 and 108) of the US Copyright law require permission of the AMA. Contact AMA Archives staff.

Collection Descriptions

The records in the digital collections represent historical AMA positions, and may not reflect current policy.
The digital collections provide access to more than 230 titles from the AMA Archives in full text, searchable format. This digital resource offers a comprehensive overview of AMA's history and activities, and provides a tool to trace past actions, policies, reports, speeches and more. Comments on this digital resource can be sent to the Archives staff.

Instructions for how to browse, search and print are included in the Help Section of the collection database.

Digest of Actions
The Digests of Official Actions are subject-based guides to historical AMA policies and actions. Arranged chronologically within topic, the Digests reveal the development of AMA opinion on a wide variety of subjects, from its own internal organization to professional and public health issues. Entries in the Digests are followed by citations which refer to the Transactions of the American Medical Association or Proceedings of the House of Delegates which record the policy resolution or activity in question. Opinions in the Digests may not reflect current AMA policy.

Historical Monographs
The monograph collection includes works authored by AMA founder Dr. Nathan Smith Davis, as well as several historical and reference works. History of the AMA, 1847-1947 and The AMA and US Health Policy Since 1940 offer comprehensive overviews of the Association's history and activities. The Guide to the Historical Health Fraud and Alternative Medicine Collection highlights the contents of the AMA's largest archival collection, containing nearly 1, 000 boxes of advertising pamphlets, letters, product containers and equipment relating to more than 3, 500 practitioners, products and businesses that the AMA investigated between 1906 and 1975.

The Transactions of the American Medical Association offer a comprehensive account of the activities of the Association in its early, formative years, as well as an understanding of the larger themes confronting the medical profession. From 1848 to 1882, the Transactions detail the day to day activities of the association's annual meetings, including resolutions which were passed into AMA policy (not necessarily reflecting AMA's current policy) and many speeches of various AMA presidents. In addition, the yearly Transactions contain scientific and medical essays, offering a view into the scientific world of past medical professionals.

This collection also includes the Proceedings of the National Medical Conventions, Held in New York, May 1846, and in Philadelphia, May 1847, which first called together representatives of medical societies from across the United States. (The name American Medical Association was decided upon at the 1847 convention.)

House of Delegates Proceedings
From 1883 to 1903 and in 1905, 1908 and 1909 the transactions of the AMA yearly meetings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. These meeting records are included here with the House of Delegates Proceedings. Themes within these transactions continue to mirror concerns of the large medical profession, including the importance of public health initiatives, scientific advancements and the need for improvements in medical education.

By 1901, the AMA underwent a great change, forming its policy making body the House of Delegates. Published accounts of the annual meetings of the AMA from this point forward were now referred to as Proceedings of the House of Delegates. The content matter of these accounts changed as well, with more emphasis placed on reports of committees and policy making resolutions, and less on scientific findings and research. This trend had continued to the present day, offering a comprehensive look at the policy-making process of the AMA and the issues it confronts in American medicine.

As with the Transactions, the records in this collection represent historical AMA positions, and may not reflect current policy.